I’ve got some time in on the Vulpine now. I picked mine up at my local bike shop, North Central Cyclery. They are one of the only, if not the only, Vulpine vendors in the ‘States.
It’s nice. Really nice. Technical details are on Vulpine’s site. A few crummy pics:
Commodious breast pocket:
Convenient, Right-sided Back Pocket:
The merino wool is soft, and seems pretty durable thus far. I wash it after every ride, because I sweat, and because I’m A/R.
I wear a Medium in this. Fit in the torso is excellent–length is great, girth is great. The sleeves are a bit short for casual, non-biking wear (e.g. I wouldn’t wear it to town). They end just above my watch. Works great for cycling, but again, a bit short for casual wear.
Warmth and versatility? Out of this world. Let’s be honest…I’m a tech guy. I like fancy clothes with membranes and coatings. Wool–it just seems so…20th century. But it works…as part of a system.
In cold climes, I wouldn’t wear wool by itself. It doesn’t do anything to stop wind. But as part of a system, it works great. My current go-to setup for cold weather riding is as follows:
Vulpine long-sleeved merino polo
For pants, I either sport a set of Gore Windstopper tights over bibs, or the Gore Magic Pants, over bibs.
Back to upper torso…
The singlet is the base layer. It helps push moisture away from the body. It keeps you comfortable.
The wool over the singlet is warmth. Even when the singlet pushes moisture into the wool and it gets wet, it keeps you warm and comfortable.
The outer jacket–typically the Phantom–is wind resistance, warmth, moisture resistance, and wicking.
In practice, I start cold and zipped up. As I warm up, I unzip the Phantom. The amazingly nice thing about the Windstopper singlet is that it lets the cold air get to your chest and cool you…but the wind doesn’t cut through you. It’s kind of hard to explain, but you get great cooling (a cool chest), without feeling the wind. If you get too cold, you can zip the Phantom back up a bit.
The nice thing about the Vulpine is that it provides a layer between the Singlet and Jacket…a nontechnical, warm-when-wet layer. I’ve found that sometimes, if you layer too much technical fabric, you get microclimates in your clothes. You can get moisture trapped between layers of tech fabric. The wool jersey provides a buffer. It seems to help both Windstopper layers to work better.
I’m loving the Vulpine. Nice fit, nice fabric, great company. Their softshell jacket is also amazing…I’m very jealous of Ross’ softshell. Check ’em out.